Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back on watch

21 58.4 S 135 51.8 W enroute Gambiers to Tuomotus

Just about 2 weeks in the Gambiers and we are back out for a 3 day, 3 night 440 mile passage to the first stop in the Tuomotu archipelago. These are a group of atolls, all with lagoons and most with narrow passes in..should be a bit excting as we get used to this type of navigation. Must be timed with slack water and tides so we'll see how well we do. Having the powerful engine we have will surely make it alot easier and we are impressed with the charts that we have access to so hopefully the notion of going to the "Dangerous Archipelago" will be just a myth. so far French Polynesia gets a thumbs up. Weather has been delightful..not too hot and breezy enough for comfortable sleeping. The people are very friendly and generous. We have been given much fruit (bananas, pampelmousse and papayas) , lots of pleasant advice, and always bonjours.

In the Gambiers we spent much of our time in Riketea(the village in the populated island of Mangareva) but we also visited a couple of not or nearly not inhabited islands that were lovely. At the south end of the pass were the very low islands with crystal clear waters...swimming was delightful and we loved the scenic palm tress and white sand beaches. We also went to Taravai which was very beautiful. Steep mountains and very green with rather odd vegetaion made it drop dead gorgeous. We met an amazing totally self sufficiient couple there who were like the Helen and Scott Nearing of the Pacific ( the Nearings were the older couple who came to Maine and lived off the land before all the hippies). They had us over for Sunday lunch and made the most awesome food we have eaten on this trip. Homegrown canard(duck), slow cooked in aubegine(eggplant) and flavored with some kind of magic herbs and spices. Also were treated to the poisson cru that Polynesia is known for...tuna which is marinated and served in coconut milk with tomatoes, lettuce and peppers...ceviche of a whole new variety and it will become an alltime favorite of mine for sure. We started drinking wine at noon with this meal and needless to say by the time we got back to the boat about 4 that was all she wrote...Tuesday Gram and I caught up with our friends Sherry and Dave and went to the pass by the airport and had a lovely dive. The water was warm, clear and coral very alive. One shark, a bunch of colorful Pacific fish and little to no current or surge made it my most comfortable dive so far. I just might get the hang of this yet...would be so nice to just be able to gear up and not go thru my nervous anticipation dance first!

We left Mangareve with 10 baguettes in the freezer so all is good in our near future. Once at the pass out we had put our lfishing lines out and shortly thereafter the whir of the rod spooling out...FISH ON and into action for all three of us to land and board the fish. This time it was another good sized yellow fin tuna so we had to take all the bread out of the freezer to make room for 7-8 meals of sushi or tuna whatever. Think we will have to try our hand at poisson cru!!! Hopefully the bread will last in the fridge...
Yesterday we were able to download some more trip pics so check out the blog for a look at more of Easter Island and our time in Pitcairn. We may have put on a few of the Gambiers...thank god for digital photograpy...can you even imagine film and developing and that whole way we used to have to do things...we would need another whole boat to carry the photos!!! Time to wake Gram up and catch the second 1/2 of my night's sleep. No engine, not much rolling and hardly any swells. Quite pleasant(for a change)..."Happy sails until we meet again!!"

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